Mom's 'Thank You' Letter To a Kind Stranger Goes Viral

Ben Graham | October 22, 2015



Jeanean Thomas of Cambridge, Ontario, took her six-year-old daughter, Peyton, to a local skate park and was treated with an all-too-uncommon kindness from a stranger.

Peyton had wanted to try skateboarding for months and Thomas had finally convinced her that skating wasn’t just for boys. When they finally went to a local skate park, they were met with an overwhelming population of older teenage boys who were smoking and swearing, immediately intimidating the girl. They decided to stay, anyway.

The mother-daughter duo's courage was rewarded by a selfless young man, who not only taught the aspiring skater how to balance and steer but also gave her tips on how to stay safe -- all while enduring mockery from his peers.

Thomas was so inspired by the random act of kindness that she wrote a letter to the young man, which was published by her local newspaper, the Cambridge Times.

The letter reads:

You’re probably about 15 years old, so I don’t expect you to be very mature or for you to want a little girl on your skate ramp for that matter.

What you don’t know is that my daughter has been wanting to skateboard for months. I actually had to convince her that skateboarding wasn’t for just for boys.

So when we walked up to the skate park and saw that it was full of teenaged boys who were smoking and swearing, she immediately wanted to turn around and go home.

I secretly wanted to go too because I didn’t want to have to put on my mom voice and exchange words with you.

I also didn’t want my daughter to feel like she had to be scared of anyone, or that she wasn’t entitled to that skate park just as much as you were.

So when she said, “Mom it’s full of older boys,” I calmly said, “So what, they don’t own the skate park.”

She proceeded to go down the ramp in spite of you and your friends flying past her and grinding rails beside her.

She only had two or three runs in before you approached her and said “Hey, excuse me …”

I immediately prepared to deliver my “She’s allowed to use this park just as much as you guys” speech when I heard you say, “Your feet are wrong. Can I help you?”

You proceeded to spend almost an hour with my daughter showing her how to balance and steer, and she listened to you – a feat not attained by most adults.

You held her hand and helped her get up when she fell down and I even heard you tell her to stay away from the rails so that she wouldn’t get hurt.

I want you to know that I am proud that you are part of my community, and I want to thank you for being kind to my daughter, even though your friends made fun of you for it.

She left the skate park with a sense of pride and with the confidence that she can do anything, because of you.

The young man was actually 20-year-old Ryan Carney, who often acts as a self-appointed role model at the skate parks he visits.

Carney had no idea his small act of kindness would garner so much international attention, and says that he “doesn’t know why it’s such a big deal.” He simply acted as he would hope someone would do for him if he were in Peyton’s shoes. 

“I went up there just simply to be nice,” said Carney. “If I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and if I was in a place that could be intimidating at that age, I’d want someone to help me.”